Magic Johnson praises former coach Jud Heathcote

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Jud Heathcote, who coached at Michigan State for nearly 20 years and won a national championship while there, has passed away at the age of 90.

A lot of fantastic players were taught by Heathcote, but none greater than Magic Johnson (who got Heathcote that national title back in 1979). Magic reacted on Twitter to Heathcote’s passing.

A couple years ago, Johnson said this to the Lansing State Journal about Heathcote.

“I owe a lot to Jud Heathcote,” Johnson said. “He’s the one who really made me a perfectionist. He brought all the Magic out.

“Jud was special, because Jud paid attention to every detail. He used to say, ‘Earv, if you’re going to take that leaping leaner (shot), we’ve got to practice it. So let’s practice it 200, 300 times a day.’

“I would come back after I turned pro, and he would hear the ball downstairs at Jenison (Field House), and I’d be shooting and shooting. He’d holler, ‘E, I’m going to be down there in one second!’ He would come down, put on his warm-up stuff, put on his sneakers and he’d get out there and work me out for two or three hours.”

“I never forget those days. I have the (video) tapes, so I put them in often and watch them, with those little short shorts.”

Our thoughts go out to the Heathcote family at this difficult time.